Big Brother 17 came to a dramatic end on Wednesday with Steve winning the last HoH competition and taking Liz over Vanessa to the Final 2. That pivotal choice helped him win the $500,000 grand prize and earned Liz a respectable $50,000 as well. As we all know, there's no prize for the third place winner, but $25,000 does go to America's Favorite Houseguest. Throughout the final week of the BB game, the fans place their votes for who they loved most in the house. This year, it looked like Johnny Mac had that on lock early in the game, but the BB17 finale night was full of upsets because James Huling won America's Favorite Houseguest instead, with Jason rounding out the Top 3 fan picks. In addition to beating out John, James' prize is notable for another reason: He's the first person of color to win America's Favorite Houseguest.
The first iteration of America's favorite player was introduced during Big Brother All-Stars , when Janelle won America's Choice Jury Prize. As the name suggests, the prize was originally limited to just the jury members, and it reappeared in Season 9 and 10. Starting in Season 11, the prize was renamed America's Favorite Houseguest, and it was extended to include all former houseguests, although a pre-jury houseguest has yet to take home the $25,000.
Of course, James already made history this season on Big Brother by having the most competition wins by an Asian American. By winning two of each BB competition (Battle of the Block, Power of Veto, and Head of Household), his six wins made him a seriously strong player this year.
On top of James' strong game play, he was also quite likable both inside and outside the house. His role as house prankster surely played a role in fan voting, especially given how creative he got with it. With John bordering on annoying at times, James arguably got a much better edit, especially over the last few weeks.
He might not have won the $500,000 for his daughter, but $25,000 is not too shabby, and it resulted in a historic moment for houseguest diversity. Way to go, James!